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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Album Review: God’s Little Eskimo

A journey from paradise to the caves inhabited by bats, with a soundtrack strumming and singing about the mysterious and beautiful. What's round that corner...? BOO! The new album: Said The Owl To The Mouse

Written by Helen Martin

ringo deathstarr album artwork

You never see Ringo Starr and Gary Lineker in the same room. Come on, about it think about it! Anyway, information pills I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a band called Ringo Deathstarr. Some kind of black metal/merseybeat hybrid? I can categorically state otherwise, viagra order although I would be intrigued to hear what that sounded like. The album title gives more of an insight into their trippy, lysergic sound, but the key influences here are the late 80s/early 90s Creation bands like My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain, with their squalling feedback and dreamy soundscapes.

Ringo Deathstarr by Avril Kelly
Illustration by Avril Kelly

Now, terms such as Shoegaze and Cathedrals of Sound do not exactly fill me with glee, but luckily Ringo Deathstarr give us a fresh and playful take on this kind of stuff. The brilliant opener Imagine Hearts starts with distorted 8-bit drum sounds before coming on like The Breeders’ Cannonball, with it’s dizzy, swirling guitars and bass player Alex Gehring’s dreamy, Kim Deal-like voice.

Ringo Deathstarr by James Boast
Illustration by James Boast

Throughout the album Gehring’s pretty, girly vocals duel with guitarist Elliot Frazier’s deeper, Ian Curtis-like croon, which provides a great counterpoint. On penultimate track Never Drive the band sound like a souped-up Joy Division.

It’s clear that these three Texans (the line-up is completed by drummer Daniel Coborn) love their vintage British indie. They’ve toured with fey 80’s jangle-merchants The Wedding Present. The breakdown in Two Girls sounds exactly like the intro to The Smiths’ Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before. And in the song Do it Every Time, Frazier sings a lyric that may or may not say “We’re falling apart again, you took my cardigan”.

Ringo Deathstarr by Matilde Sazio
Illustration by Matilde Sazio

But rather than coming across as foppish miserablists, Ringo Deathstarr’s music is often powerful and joyous, and they’re at their best when playing the colour-saturated, nostalgic pop of stand out tracks So High and Kaleidoscope, which are the aural equivalent of a faded Polaroid taken on a sunny day in a park. In the 80s.

Ringo Deathstarr by Rukmunal Hakim
Illustration by Rukmunal Hakim

The fact that much of the lyrics are unintelligible, buried as they are under feedback and reverb, adds to the whole dreamlike quality of the record. When you do catch a phrase or word here and there, it feels like a stolen snippet of a faded memory. So, a host of 80’s indie references, dreamy girl/boy vocals and sun-faded guitar hooks – what’s not to like? Gary would approve. I mean Ringo…

Colour Trip is released on 14th February 2011 on Club AC30.

ringo deathstarr album artwork

You never see Ringo Starr and Gary Lineker in the same room. Come on, patient think about it! Anyway, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a band called Ringo Deathstarr. Some kind of black metal/merseybeat hybrid? I can categorically state otherwise, although I would be intrigued to hear what that sounded like. The album title gives more of an insight into their trippy, lysergic sound, but the key influences here are the late 80s/early 90s Creation bands like My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain, with their squalling feedback and dreamy soundscapes.

Ringo Deathstarr by Avril Kelly
Illustration by Avril Kelly

Now, terms such as Shoegaze and Cathedrals of Sound do not exactly fill me with glee, but luckily Ringo Deathstarr give us a fresh and playful take on this kind of stuff. The brilliant opener Imagine Hearts starts with distorted 8-bit drum sounds before coming on like The Breeders’ Cannonball, with it’s dizzy, swirling guitars and bass player Alex Gehring’s dreamy, Kim Deal-like voice.

Ringo Deathstarr by James Boast
Illustration by James Boast

Throughout the album Gehring’s pretty, girly vocals duel with guitarist Elliot Frazier’s deeper, Ian Curtis-like croon, which provides a great counterpoint. On penultimate track Never Drive the band sound like a souped-up Joy Division.

It’s clear that these three Texans (the line-up is completed by drummer Daniel Coborn) love their vintage British indie. They’ve toured with fey 80’s jangle-merchants The Wedding Present. The breakdown in Two Girls sounds exactly like the intro to The Smiths’ Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before. And in the song Do it Every Time, Frazier sings a lyric that may or may not say “We’re falling apart again, you took my cardigan”.

Ringo Deathstarr by Matilde Sazio
Illustration by Matilde Sazio

But rather than coming across as foppish miserablists, Ringo Deathstarr’s music is often powerful and joyous, and they’re at their best when playing the colour-saturated, nostalgic pop of stand out tracks So High and Kaleidoscope, which are the aural equivalent of a faded Polaroid taken on a sunny day in a park. In the 80s.

Ringo Deathstarr by Rukmunal Hakim
Illustration by Rukmunal Hakim

The fact that much of the lyrics are unintelligible, buried as they are under feedback and reverb, adds to the whole dreamlike quality of the record. When you do catch a phrase or word here and there, it feels like a stolen snippet of a faded memory. So, a host of 80’s indie references, dreamy girl/boy vocals and sun-faded guitar hooks – what’s not to like? Gary would approve. I mean Ringo…

Colour Trip is released on 14th February 2011 on Club AC30.

ringo deathstarr album artwork

You never see Ringo Starr and Gary Lineker in the same room. Come on, help think about it! Anyway, information pills I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a band called Ringo Deathstarr. Some kind of black metal/merseybeat hybrid? I can categorically state otherwise, buy more about although I would be intrigued to hear what that sounded like. The album title gives more of an insight into their trippy, lysergic sound, but the key influences here are the late 80s/early 90s Creation bands like My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain, with their squalling feedback and dreamy soundscapes.

Ringo Deathstarr by Avril Kelly
Illustration by Avril Kelly

Now, terms such as Shoegaze and Cathedrals of Sound do not exactly fill me with glee, but luckily Ringo Deathstarr give us a fresh and playful take on this kind of stuff. The brilliant opener Imagine Hearts starts with distorted 8-bit drum sounds before coming on like The Breeders’ Cannonball, with it’s dizzy, swirling guitars and bass player Alex Gehring’s dreamy, Kim Deal-like voice.

Ringo Deathstarr by James Boast
Illustration by James Boast

Throughout the album Gehring’s pretty, girly vocals duel with guitarist Elliot Frazier’s deeper, Ian Curtis-like croon, which provides a great counterpoint. On penultimate track Never Drive the band sound like a souped-up Joy Division.

It’s clear that these three Texans (the line-up is completed by drummer Daniel Coborn) love their vintage British indie. They’ve toured with fey 80’s jangle-merchants The Wedding Present. The breakdown in Two Girls sounds exactly like the intro to The Smiths’ Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before. And in the song Do it Every Time, Frazier sings a lyric that may or may not say “We’re falling apart again, you took my cardigan”.

Ringo Deathstarr by Matilde Sazio
Illustration by Matilde Sazio

But rather than coming across as foppish miserablists, Ringo Deathstarr’s music is often powerful and joyous, and they’re at their best when playing the colour-saturated, nostalgic pop of stand out tracks So High and Kaleidoscope, which are the aural equivalent of a faded Polaroid taken on a sunny day in a park. In the 80s.

Ringo Deathstarr by Rukmunal Hakim
Illustration by Rukmunal Hakim

The fact that much of the lyrics are unintelligible, buried as they are under feedback and reverb, adds to the whole dreamlike quality of the record. When you do catch a phrase or word here and there, it feels like a stolen snippet of a faded memory. So, a host of 80’s indie references, dreamy girl/boy vocals and sun-faded guitar hooks – what’s not to like? Gary would approve. I mean Ringo…

Colour Trip is released on 14th February 2011 on Club AC30.

God's Little Eskimo by Matilde Sazio

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

A single voice sings out with the tweet of birds in the background. A little bit choir like, dosage a lot Bellowhead like. A choir song for nature. For me, advice I thought of The Lord of The Rings, and and the shire. Or Cadfael and canal residers, Rosie and Jim. With no worries about things like mortgages or commutes. Indeed, I know Cadfael dealt with corruption, but he also had an inner calm, that must have come with the peace he had with himself/job. The beginning of the album certainly makes God’s Little Eskimo reside in a nice wood-burning stove dwelling house in the early 1800s, pre industrial revolution. He would have a furlong or two of land and young Tess of The d’Urbervilles type figure as his wife.

godslittleeskimo by daria hlazatova

Illustration by Daria Hlazatova

However, after searching for God’s Little Eskimo, aka Johnny’s postcard he had sent with his CD, the music changed almost on cue. The picture on the postcard was of a vampire looking out to the mid distance, with his dark haired victim, staring as if dead, into the infinite darkness. His clawed hands wrapped around her head, it was scary – in that 70s horror movie way. And the music? Well, it was like Frankenstein’s. In the forest, miserable and alone, when he turns from ‘newborn’, to killer. It’s dramatic, humming, premeditated and controlled – yet obviously full of anguish.

God's little Eskimo - Owl Fritha

Illustration by Fritha Strickland

Then we have another change and God’s Little Eskimo has gone travelling. To America. He still sounds a bit dark (see: If I were to bury you), yet we have some electric guitars. We’re in 70s orange, glowed USA, with a touch of 90s Doves. It’s good and the repeating guitar notes reflect the voices ‘ahhing, my love’ to splendid effect.

god's little eskimo by daria hlazatova

Illustration by Daria Hlazatova

Moving on, Breaking Waves At Night, has an almost Spanish air to it, but still retains Johnny’s dramatic, folky voice. Perfect for a Twilight film. In contrast, In The Gloaming Woods is upbeat, happy and almost jump inducing. Maybe a happier Twilight bit, and with them in England. And of course gloaming means ‘twilight: dusk’. Limb By Limb is a mersmerising magician, a bit of a 30s black and white horror. The piano notes drawing her in… Finally Rooks is a pleasant end, ‘The rooks have returned and the Spring is coming on”. It has some lovely instrumental in the middle. The happy ending to the play and journey… although of course, rooks, like crows, do signify death according to folklore. Tess of The d’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy: ‘”Hoosh! Just be off, sir, or I’ll twist your neck! said the dairyman with some irritation, turning to the bird and driving him away. And to his wife as they went indoors: “Now to think o’ that – just to-day! I’ve not heard his crow of an afternoon all the year afore.” Ominous.

God's Little Eskimo - Badger Fritha

Illustration by Fritha Strickland

I asked Johnny a couple of questions:
Why the name, I know you’re called Johnny Eskimo, but could you elaborate?
The “God’s Little Eskimo” name is actually a misheard quote from the 80s movie Heathers (with Winona Ryder / Christian Slater etc). I thought that a character in the film was referred to at their funeral as “God’s little eskimo”. I wouldn’t say the film itself was a huge influence, but for some reason the phrase stuck with me so I ended up choosing it as my name . When I watched it again more recently, I realised they actually get described as “Sherwood’s little eskimo” – not quite the same, but I much prefer my mis-remembered version.

Err, do you like horror films perchance?
I do like horror films yes – how did you guess?? I’m especially fond of older British psychological horrors, like Don’t Look Now, Seance On A Wet Afternoon and The Innocents, and I always liked scaring myself with ghost stories as a child. They definitely play some part in my inspiration, along with an interest in nature (particularly birds) and a fondness for woodlands and the sea. I suppose overall what I’m trying to convey in the songs is a sense of how much of the world around us remains uncanny and mysterious, and both how frightening and beautiful that can be (if that doesn’t sound too pretentious).

(No). God’s Little Eskimo, Said The Owl To The Mouse is out now, on Art Scare Records. Have a listen, go explore.

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